Movie #234 2020: Sing Street (2016)

Moving on from the effing and blinding I did in my post about The Hobbit, we’ll move on to a film set in Ireland… Because Irish people never swear, right? ………Okay, maybe that was a bad segue way.

Sing Street entails a young schoolboy from Dublin who has his sights set on starting a new band. Set in the 1980s, the lead character’s chief goal is to impress the mysterious girl he likes, and we follow him in his quest to create new, Duran Duran inspired songs in order for his crush to appear in the music videos they’ve set out to film. On paper, it sounds kind of boring. But this coming-of-age, Irish, teen angst-y dramedy is anything but.

It’s true: every critic in the world was right. This is one fucking brilliant soundtrack. Not only does it make great use of popular songs, but it has even better original music. You want examples? Here’s an excerpt from the track listing:

  1. Stay CleanMotorhead
  2. I Fought the LawThe Clash
  3. Town Called Malice The Jam
  4. ManeaterHall & Oates
  5. GoldSpandau Ballet

I could go on. Plus, Drive It Like You Stole It and The Riddle of the Model are particular stand-outs amongst the original songs, and each of them could be real hits if they were released back in the time period in which the film is sets.

Unlike some coming-of-age twaddle, Sing Street contains great performances by all, and Lucy Boynton was especially well cast as the girl of Conor’s affections despite having a slightly dodgy Irish accent at times. Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy as the smaller parental roles amongst a young cast was an excellent choice also, and they help to hold up the infrastructure of the script and keep the realism at a high level.

It was nice to see the reality of Ireland (albeit dramatised, of course) on screen. By that I mean there’s no weird leprechaun/fantasy story line that seem to be the sole focus of Irish cinema, and no obsession with sweeping shots of greenery. It’s all just a simple yet fun plot about being a young adult – something I’m sure many teenagers in Ireland were happy to see. 

The cinematography here was actually decent too, even if you don’t count the obligatory panoramas of hills and the sea. A hand held camera was definitely the way to go, and it really aids the viewer in feeling as if they are part of the story here.

My only issue with Sing Street was the length of it. For what it is, it could have been 30 minutes shorter. I definitely lost interest towards the end, but if you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll know that long movies are a pet peeve of mine and my attention span isn’t brilliant at the best of times. Nevertheless, this is a well made film that definitely deserves the critical praise it got back in 2016.

Sing Street is available to rent for £2.49 on Amazon and the Google Play store.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Enjoyability Rating: 

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